Three doors to the workshop

Through the first heavy door into a dark hallway. Behind the second door there is daylight, and a wild green small courtyard behind old glass panes. In the third door simple window glass, a peek into the workshop. Inside it’s all corners and niches, not very roomy, workbenches and tools radiate many years of work.
Freiburg’s Talstrasse has been the third station of the Sandal Workshop, for a little more than 30 years now. You can’ t see anymore that this has once been a bakery. At the entrance there is the sandal collection on a low shelf, a coal stove is in the center of the room.
A narrow staircase leads to the upper floor, which has been restored and prepared for workshops and classes. Round ceiling lights resemble skylights, you look at the beams, the house is old after all.
It all started in the 1970s, with the White Shop (“Weisser Laden”) located in the Adelhauser Strasse. The  White Shop not only sells sandals, but also books, and now and then you get a free apple to boot. It is one of the meanwhile legendary “alternative projects” of the seventies and eighties.
The principal idea of the shop: To offer a meaningful product, work self-determined, a good deal of customers are friends, family and acquaintances. There is hardly any advertising, the customers just drop in, amongst them many students or people closely related to the then thriving environmental movement, or “eco-scene,” as it was called in Germany.
There’s quite a few people who work in the shop or just give a hand, usually for a limited time, and then go other ways. One who is involved very early on is Andreas Thilo, soon joined by Heinrich Assies. These two remain – and soon they “are” Sandal Workshop Freiburg.
By the end of the 1980s, fewer customers visit the shop. The sandal makers decide to go where the customers are: They set up their sales stand at craft fairs, artisan markets and eco fairs. And it works. The Sandal Workshop is back in the black. It remains, small but alive.
A leap in time. It is 2019. A Japanese orthopedic shoemaker, Norihiko Tsukinowa, comes across the exhibition showcase of the Sandal Workshop in Freiburg’s pedestrian zone. Meets Thilo and Assies, arranges an internship. And he decides to step in.
The Corona virus somewhat disrupts his plans however. But time does not pass unused: The old website is revamped, an online store is created, workshops and courses are planned. In Japan, such workshops are very popular – so why not in Freiburg?
The fundamental ideas from the 1970s, they still turn out sustainable in the 2020s. A meaningful and well-made product, made of the best material, handcrafted, in a distinctive style, from a workshop that also draws on the personality of its three sandal makers: This is the Sandal Workshop Freiburg today.


Advice in our workshop. Of course, you can just come to the workshop and get all advice you might need. However, if you want to order a pair of sandals or shoes, we recommend that you make an appointment so that we make sure we have enough time for you. The appointment can also be arranged outside our opening hours (Monday to Friday 3.00 to 6.00 p.m.). Please allow 20 to 30 minutes for normal needs.

Once you have made your decision, we ask you to stand on a so-called foot-impression-box with both feet one after the other. This is a kind of footprint kit that shows us just where you normally put weight on your feet. We also draw the foot outline for both feet.

In the course of this, we also discuss the special requirements you may have for your feet. While we don’t make orthopedic shoes or sandals, and don’t do video or computer analysis of your gait or foot form, we will use our experience and expertise to address special needs.

Need some time: Handmade Sandals & Shoes Once we got your footprints, we can start to make your sandals or shoes. It’s handwork, and we do it on a first-come, first-served basis. We will give you an approximate appointment date for fitting or an estimated date for shipping, respectively. For some models – the ones you can not order online – we need you to visit us for a second appointment to fit the sandal or shoe.


Please note: Shape: The sole and footbed are shaped according to your footprints and therefore may appear slightly different from the pictures in the online catalog. This is not a deficiency. Color: The leather is dyed individually, and your monitor or display can show colors quite differently. The colors are therefore not binding, this is not a deficiency.

1. Make a footprint

Involvement of the buyer: We need your footprints for our bespoke sandals and shoes. When we receive an online order, we will send you a footprint kit and a small enclosed instruction. You must return the footprint kit to us before we can begin to work.

2. Adjust the Straps

When you receive the finished sandals, you need to adjust the straps yourself. Please see Video below. This collaboration is required; it is not a shortcoming and does not justify a price reduction.
Right of withdrawal and exchange: All our sandals and shoes are custom made and we only make them to order. The purchase contract is concluded by the binding order, you can not return or exchange the sandals or shoes. General Terms & Conditions: Please read our GTC before you make your binding order. We are obliged to provide you with these informations. When ordering online, you are required tick the respective box to confirm that you have read and understood our GTC . Further questions: Please check our “What you need to know” page first. If you can’t find the answer to your questions there, please feel free to contact us directly!